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Recently, just before the Queen’s death, I took a nostalgic trip to the magical outer Hebridean island of Berneray, where I’d spent almost a week with King Charles 30 years ago in addition to a small film crew.
Of course he was Prince Charles in those days and he invited me to Bernay to make a 60-minute documentary for ITV about his love for the Western Isles, Scotland and the Gaelic people.
Nowhere in the world is more in store for Charles than in these wind-filled islands just off the edge of the United Kingdom.
There is no castle on the Berne, which has a population of just 186, but Charles was more than happy to ‘rue down’ in a modest crofter’s house, where his attic bedroom was no bigger than a Balmoral cupboard and the family’s black cat could be seen every night. Removed from his single bed, as it is little known, our new king does not like cats.
Charles enjoys a hearty simple meal with his hosts Gloria and Donald ‘Splash’ McKillop.
We ate traditional Scottish food, tatties and mince, at the kitchen table, which Charles would turn down so fast that he would often prank him to get the potatoes off my plate.
Away from it all: Then-Prince Charles and Selina Scott on Bernroy
Selina Scott Bernaroy
Although Charles still in his fourth decade looked as happy as a schoolboy regardless of the world. But as soon as an Atlantic typhoon hits the shores of Berneray, turning the sun into darkness, it may plunge into introspection.
When the cameras stopped turning we often took long walks on the three-mile deserted West Beach where the foaming ocean rollers made their first landings since America, and he sometimes spoke with the dread that Destiny had determined what his life would be.
‘Celina you are so lucky. You haven’t fixed your life for every minute, every hour, every day.”
These were the days when his marriage to Diana was falling apart and he often sought refuge from the pain and confusion, which he clearly felt by moving his paints and canvases on the rocks, to Berneray’s elusive beauty and her sense of misery. Tried to catch up, which at the time seemed to match his own turmoil.
I will never forget what our cameraman Alistair Watt told me one day when he saw Charles through the lens of his TV camera. That he had ‘never seen such a sad man’.
Alistair’s observation struck a chord with me. Before this, Charles acknowledged his innermost thoughts and fears in a way that he has never publicly expressed, learned through much criticism and hurt to be more protected.
He told me, ‘Let me tell you that at times I feel completely trapped. ‘I have a lot of lack of confidence, so it’s quite a struggle. ‘
I asked him ‘Why are you feeling trapped?’
He described the pressures of privilege and responsibility that came with his birth, saying: ‘I have a very well-developed conscience, I think, which is what I’ve always needed. I look around and see a lot of people in positions far less fortunate than me, and I think: ‘Here I am in this position. What can I do to the best of my ability to improve their condition?’
‘Well, I must admit that Buckingham Palace and even my own advisors sometimes ask me to calm down my thoughts before broadcasting them publicly.
‘There are some things that must have been written at two o’clock in the morning which, upon closer inspection, I believe may prove to be a bit alarming.
‘However, I keep them in because I’ve always felt instinctively, maybe with a sixth sense, no, I’ll stick to that because I really believe it will strike a chord. And have done so many times.
‘I really feel – my trouble is that I feel very strongly about things. I can not help it. I don’t know where it comes from. I just do. And I have – I get that – I have to express it.’
Although these words were said long ago, far from the protocol of the monarchy, where it probably felt safer and less insecure than anywhere else on earth at the time, and although we are all entitled to change our views, mine Believes he still holds onto most of what he said at the time.
And it’s very instructive as to what kind of king Charles would become.
Documentary: A Prince Between Charles and Selina Island in 1992
I think it was inevitable when I returned to Berneray last month, and the beach where he spoke so candidly, that I would be reminded of his words and our time on the island. I was once again for ITN to film the lonely beauty of this remote island, reconnect with the crofters, and talk to Gloria McKillop, now 90, about the time the prince came to live. (Donald McKillop died in 2009.)
We were due to visit Dumfries House, a Ayrshire Georgian mansion with its priceless Chippendale furniture that Charles had saved for the Scottish nation.
Charles wanted to show the islanders how the Dumfree Estate, which now runs on heritage-led principles and practice, was inspired by Bernerrey Crofters, whose organic farming of Machair, a rare landscape of sand, shell and grass, influenced them so much. was.
Inevitably the Queen’s death has been delayed for what would be a happy reunion. However, Bernay’s film will go ahead. ITN is scheduled to broadcast My Return to the Island early next week following coverage of the Queen’s funeral at Westminster Abbey, a ceremony that will inevitably be the most dramatic and emotionally charged in our collective lifetimes.
Charles became heir to the throne three, seven decades ago. Now that his lifetime apprenticeship is over, will he put his name in the history books?
Although she, like the queen, has pledged that there will be no more significant interference in political affairs (she has pointed out, for example, that she thinks the government’s decision to send illegal immigrants to Rwanda a catastrophic mistake) she He also declared in his 1970 diary that ‘mere presence would be fatal’.
I don’t have a crystal ball, but have seen Charles at private gatherings at their homes, as a guest at his 50th birthday party in Highgrove, as well as in three 60 Minutes television interviews I did face-to-face with him For him, two of them American networks, I find it hard to believe he’ll be able to stop himself, as he’s promised, from letting go of his thoughts and passions.
The dignity that Charles has shown in the depths of his grief since the death of the Queen is deeply shaken.
As he walked with his brothers and sister from the Royal Mile to St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh, he was walking behind his mother’s flag-covered coffin, only to be broken by the rattling drum of marching boots The silence that ensued touched us all, as the procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall passed.
His address to the nation was remarkable in its warmth and assurance.
In a poll this week, 63 percent of the country’s people said he would be a good king, a significant jump from just 39 percent in March who thought he would be impressed as a monarch.
And yet . , , And yet . , , Despite the control he showed to the public, I felt that I could still feel beyond the mask I had seen up close long ago.
As I watched the lone Piper and Honor Guard of the Royal Company of Archers, as the chariot left the castle of Holyroodhouse, as it is steeped in so much turbulent Scottish history, I was again reminded of the sensitive young man whose fate was finally has come.
Charles first visited Berneray as a young child, when he sailed with his parents on their summer vacation cruise to the Western Isles, stopping for picnics on uninhabited beaches away from court pressure.
I think it was because he felt so safe at Berneray with his happy childhood memories and the kindness of the crofters, who treated him with no lack of respect, but no inappropriate ceremony, no forelock tugging and Not phoning, that he felt comfortable enough to reveal his innermost thoughts.
Our conversation was with the ribbing he took when he confessed that he talked to plants to help him develop his thoughts on architecture and his feelings about his place in the world.
Which was really a chord when he said: ‘I’ve had this extraordinary feeling for years and years since I can really remember, wanting to heal and make things better.
‘I feel it is my duty to care about everyone and their lives in this country. , , To try to find a way to improve them if I can.’
It was this sense of instinct, I think, that compelled him to make warmly inclusive references to Harry and Meghan in his speech to the nation, when many in Britain feel, with all of Harry’s book imminent. , the greatest immediate threat to the stability of the currency firm.
Few would deny Charles, at the age of 73, a chance at the autumn, fulfillment and joy of his years. His life, at times, strewn with rose petals, has been a roller coaster.
Despite what may seem like a gilded life of power, privilege and luxury, Charles, as we all know, has experienced much of the pain and unhappiness that most of us go through.
However, he can be irritable and stubborn. Especially when people haven’t ‘found’, which means they don’t get it.
I have seen moments when he has been challenged. His initial reaction is not to immediately fall into heated debate, but the signs of his displeasure are clear. He smiles, sticks his tongue into his cheek and the people around him wait for the collapse, which, for the unfortunate, may mean the end of the relationship.
Despite his other setbacks, however, his manners were never in doubt. The first time I met Charles I was just 25, and Rothesay and Bute was the tourist officer on the island. He was not much older than me and was a flamboyant captain of a naval battleship that had just landed at Rothesay. In a hurry to get back to his ship, his driver almost knocked me down on the pier. The next thing I heard was the squeak of the brakes when Charles ordered the driver to stop and apologize.
Today he feels right with his prophetic campaigns, especially on climate change, which, in turn, have led to a calmer and more confident Charles.
The day Charles realized he was a traitor – ‘Like those who think he is Napoleon, I sometimes wonder if I am really the Prince of Wales’, he once told me – Long gone.
What are the challenges ahead? With the spread of Scottish nationalism, his job would be to help hold the Union and Commonwealth together and lay the foundation for peace in Northern Ireland, as well as seek greater harmony among the rapidly spreading beliefs in the country.
It seems likely, given his passion for protecting rural England, that he would object to the new prime minister lifting the ban on fracking, which he believed would intimidate the countryside and pit communities against each other. Will do
But, as I have already mentioned, how to express an objection now which they have not promised? That would be the challenge for him.
I believe that he will be a good king, although apparently at times sadly he will not have the opportunity to establish his mother’s greatness.
Charles has often impressed people with his publicly expressed views, but despite facing all the criticism, he has always stuck to his guns and continues to advocate for what he believes in.
It is the individual stamina and spirit of effort that is needed for the monarchy to survive.
Credit: www.dailymail.co.uk /